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Ukraine Daily Summary - Sunday, 24 April 2022

Russia forcibly deports 308 Mariupol residents to Vladivostok, including 90 children -- Russian statements interpreted as veiled threat to attack Odesa Oblast with chemical weapons -- Without national mobilization, Donbas is the last offensive Russia can afford -- Russia places Iskander missile systems 60 kilometres from Ukraine’s border -- and more

Ukraine Daily

Sunday, 24 April 2022

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Russia’s war against Ukraine


Sviatoslav Fursin and Yaryna Arieva hold candles during their wedding ceremony at St. Michael’s monastery in Kyiv on Feb. 24, 2022. The couple got married on the first day of the Russian all-out invasion of Ukraine. (Mykhailo Omelian)

Zelensky: Ukraine will pull out of peace talks if Russia kills Ukrainian troops in Mariupol. Ukraine will also halt the talks if Russia holds pseudo-referendums in occupied territories, he said on April 23. The President also added that the Ukrainian army is not ready to break the siege in Mariupol and save encircled troops. The city has been surrounded by Russian troops for almost two months, with Ukrainian soldiers still holding on to the highly fortified Azovstal steel mill.

Russia forcibly deports 308 Mariupol residents to Vladivostok, including 90 children. The children will also be forced to learn Russian, adviser to the mayor of Mariupol Petro Andryushchenko said on April 21. Vladivostok is located on the Sea of Japan over 9,000 kilometers east of Mariupol.

Russian shelling likely to increase on Easter. Ukraine’s Security Service has once again called for Ukrainians to stay home during Easter festivities. The SBU published an alleged recording between a Russian soldier and his wife, where the soldier says Russian troops are writing “Christ is risen” on the shells.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to visit Ukraine on April 24. President Volodymyr Zelensky broke the news of the visit during an ongoing press conference that he is holding on the platform of a metro station in central Kyiv.

US expert: Without national mobilization, Donbas is the last offensive Russia can afford. Whether it succeeds, or fails, the Russian military will be largely exhausted, military expert Michael Kofman said on April 23. Russian forces have taken heavy losses in manpower and equipment, and Russian reinforcements are far from sufficient to replace earlier losses, he added.

General Staff: Russia places Iskander missile systems 60 kilometers from Ukraine’s border. According to the latest update from Ukraine’s Armed Forces, Russia has parked the Iskander-M short-range ballistic missile systems 60 kilometers from Ukraine’s border. The Russian military is also shelling the positions of the Ukrainian military in Donetsk direction using mortars, cannon artillery and multiple rocket launchers along the entire frontline.

Military intelligence: 2 Russian generals killed near Kherson. According to Defense Ministry’s Intelligence Directorate, on April 22, Ukraine’s Armed Forces hit a Russian command post near occupied regional capital Kherson, in southern Ukraine, allegedly killing two Russian generals and wounding one.

Russian statements interpreted as veiled threat to attack Odesa Oblast with chemical weapons. Russia’s Defense Ministry on April 23 accused Ukraine of planning to use ammonia as a chemical weapon as part of a “provocation” at the seaport of Yuzhny in Odesa Oblast. Russia claimed that Ukraine would “imitate” a Russian missile attack at the port and blow up a cold storage facility.

Kuleba: ‘Russia must be designated a state sponsor of terrorism and treated accordingly.’ Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said “the only aim of Russian missile strikes on Odesa is terror.” Earlier, two rockets hit Ukraine’s port city, killing five and injuring 18.

Melitopol mayor: Honorary consul of Bulgaria kidnapped by Russians. Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov announced on air during the national TV marathon that a “few hours ago it became known that the honorary consul of Bulgaria was kidnapped in Melitopol.” The mayor also added that as of April 23, more than 50 of his colleagues “were kidnapped across the country, and today 29 are in the prisons.”

Ukraine’s airforce destroys 17 Russian aerial targets. Yuriy Ignat, a Ukrainian air force spokesman, said Ukraine shot down three Russian planes (according to preliminary estimates those are Su-25, Su-34 and Su-35 aircraft), five missiles and 9 UAVs over the past 24 hours.

Ukrainian forces liberate eight settlements in southern Ukraine. The Ukrainian Operational Command South reported on April 24 that the Ukrainian army has liberated eight settlements in Kherson Oblast.

Nearly 3 million people fled Ukraine for Poland since Feb. 24. Four million Ukrainians have fled abroad, according to the UNHCR. Yet, the number of refugees is decreasing, according to data from Polish Border Guards.

Russia’s war already hit global grain trade. According to Taras Vysotsky, first deputy minister of agriculture, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to higher prices and reduced access to food in countries importing grain from Ukraine and Russia.

Institute for the Study of War: Russia finishes redeployment of troops from Kyiv offensive. According to the U.S. military think tank, Russian troops drawn from the retreat from Kyiv are re-entering combat in eastern Ukraine while Russian forces from around Mariupol are redeploying to the vicinity of Donetsk and are likely to enter combat again soon. Experts predict that Russian forces will likely continue attacking southeast from Izium, west from Kreminna and Popasna, and north from Donetsk. Russian forces will also attempt to starve out the remaining defenders of the Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol and will not allow trapped civilians to evacuate.

Read our exclusive, on the ground stories

On April 23, two months into Russia’s all-out-war against Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky gave an unusual press conference for Ukrainian and foreign journalists on the platform of the Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) metro station in the heart of Ukraine’s capital. The Kyiv Independent reported on the main takeaways.

At least two Russian missiles hit a military facility and a residential building in the southern city of Odesa on April 23, killing at least eight people, including a three-month-old baby, and injuring at least 18 people. One of the victims burned in his car parked near the building that was hit. Read our story here.

As thousands of Kyiv residents were rushing to escape the city on Feb. 24 after Russia launched the first strikes at the capital, one Kyiv resident was busy with a different task: He was running around the city trying to organize a spontaneous wedding. Read our story here.

The human cost of Russia’s war

Governor: 3 civilians killed in Chuhuiv and Derhachi, Kharkiv Oblast. Six people were injured in the region as a result of Russian shelling on April 23, Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Synehubov said.

Zelensky calls Russians ‘stinking bastards’ after airstrike kills 3-month-old in Odesa. President Volodymyr Zelensky didn’t hold back during his press conference held hours after Russian airstrikes killed eight and injured 18 people in Odesa. “It’s simply horror,” he said. “During these (Easter) days, they just don’t care,” said the president. However, he added that Ukraine must continue peace talks to prevent children from dying because of Russian airstrikes.

Local official: Russian occupiers dump victims of Mariupol Drama Theater attack in mass grave. According to the advisor to Mariupol mayor Petro Andriushchenko, Russian occupiers are clearing debris at the theater that they bombed on March 16. The official said that Russians take dead bodies to the nearby Manhush village. Local authorities previously reported discovering a mass grave in Manhush where they estimate 3,000-9,000 Mariupol residents could be buried.

International response

UK to provide additional military aid for Ukraine. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the delivery in a phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky. The aid will include protected mobility vehicles, anti tank weapons, and drones.

Poland has provided Ukraine with weapons worth $1.6 billion. The Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced the results during a conference of the #StopRussiaNOW initiative. While speaking at the conference, Morawiecki said the aid is for the protection of “Ukrainian, Polish and European sovereignty.”

French minister says EU to impose full embargo on Russian oil within weeks. Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire told TV channel BFMTV on April 23 that this will help to stop the flow of foreign currency into Russia.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Alexander Query, Daria Shulzhenko, Oleg Sukhov, Sergiy Slipchenko, Olena Goncharova, Oleksiy Sorokin, Olga Rudenko, Toma Istomina and Brad LaFoy.

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